My mother is in the hospital and things are kind of rocky. If Mama’s health improves, I’ll be back Monday.
My mother is in the hospital and things are kind of rocky. If Mama’s health improves, I’ll be back Monday.
I can’t blog today. Family stuff. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Rebecca
Caring for an old person is a little bit like driving a car with 300,000 miles on it. You never know when it’s going to break down, or in what weird way it will do it.
Last night was an example of this. Mama passed out on us in a 3-2-1-lights-out sort of way, and then she stayed passed out. My oldest son and I spent hours in the er beside her bed while she was off wherever it was that she’d gone and the medical staff tried to figure out what was happening.
Then this morning, she woke up like an old car that wouldn’t start yesterday but today kicks over as if nothing had happened. She’s still in the hospital, and I’m glad to have her there. She needs the care, and we need the help.
I wrote about it for the National Catholic Register. Here’s a bit of what I said:
Old people — and by that I mean very old people — are funny.
They’re not funny in the sense of laughs. They’re funny in the sense that you never know from one moment to the next what’s going to happen.
Caring for a two-year-old is a piece of the proverbial cake compared to caring for a 90-year-old with dementia. My family and I have been doing our best to care for my 90-year-old-two-year-old for years now.
Her dementia started when she was in her high 80s. It was a late-comer to the aging party, but once it arrived, it went through her brain like a laser, cutting away pieces with every pass. Dementia never stops taking. It is an aggressive and remorseless beast that slowly, but inevitably, lops off chunks of the person you love.
Mama is my baby now, complete with diapers and the sudden medical crises that go along with the physical declines of extreme age. A 90-year-old going on eternity can slide straight down from doin’fine and being a pest to the brink of forever in one, breath-taking step.
Consider last night.
What we had was Mama, prattling along with her nonsensical word-salad talk-talking while changing into her night gown. With no warning, she stopped talking and slumped forward.
This is the latest video by Center for Medical Progress.
I found two videos, one edited and another unedited version of a second situation. The second video talks about public reaction and says that “this is the first step in stem cell research,” meaning embryonic stem cell research.
I can tell you from personal experience that the medical establishment has been highly successful in using business interests to shut down legislation banning embryonic stem cell research. Sad to say, Republican leadership and a good bit of pro life advocacy leadership cooperates with them in this by actually killing pro life legislation. This is all done in back rooms, without the public knowing about it. The press never covers it, and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand it.
Living in this environment was one of the most painful things I’ve experienced as a legislator. I’ve experienced more than a bit of that again, with the votes in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. I know too much, and that can be hard to bear.
For that reason, I’m going to take the rest of today for prayer. I need time with God.
The Associated Press has published a list of the members of the United States Senate and how they voted in today’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
The vote was not a vote on the bill. It was a vote on a motion for cloture. Cloture would have limited debate and stopped the potential for a filibuster. Cloture needs 60 votes.
According to the Associated Press story, the final breakdown was 2 Democrats and 51 Republicans voting “yes,” and 42 Democrats, 2 Republicans and both Independents voting “no.” The “nos” carried, which effectively killed consideration of the bill.
To see the Associated Press vote tally and how your senator voted, go to ABC News.
Today’s United States Senate vote on defunding Planned Parenthood fell 7 votes short.
Sixty votes were needed to pass cloture, which would have cut off a filibuster. The final vote on cloture was 53-46. Congressional Republicans vow to fight on throughout the rest of the session. One idea that is being floated is to attach an amendment to the budget bill. This action would most likely result in a shut-down of government.
The Senate has not posted the roll call on this vote yet. When they do, I’ll post it for you.
From The Washington Post:
Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos raising questions about its practice of harvesting tissue for research from aborted fetuses.
The procedural vote on a bill that would immediately halt funding to the group fell short of the 60 needed to proceed. Democrats vowed to filibuster the bill, and Republicans were unable to peel off enough support to counter it. The final tally was 53-46.
But GOP leaders have made defunding Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of their agenda going into the summer congressional recess, and some Republicans have said they are willing to force a government shutdown in October if federal support to the group is not severed.
We won one.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has granted a permanent injunction against the United States government in the matter of its attempt to force Tyndale Publishers to abide by the HHS Mandate. In other words, the court ruled that attempts to force Tyndale to abide by the HHS Mandate had previously been ruled Unconstitutional in the Hobby Lobby decision.
The reason for this is that Tyndale is a for-profit corporation, as opposed to the Little Sisters of the Poor, which is a non-profit. The Hobby Lobby decision addressed for-profits.
This allowed the Obama Administration to issue a new set of guidelines, forcing the nuns to abide by the HHS Mandate. It also forces the Little Sisters to take their case to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, I wonder why, given the Hobby Lobby case, the government didn’t just drop its case against Tyndale. Why was the publisher forced to seek this injunction? The Obama administration seems determined to try to force Christian employers to violate their faiths, up to and including forcing them to take their individual cases to court to claim their rights.
This is a critical vote, since Manchin is one of a handful of pro life Democrats in the United States Senate. It is possible that Senator Manchin will pay a large political price for this vote inside his own party.
One of the problems we’ve had with this particular issue is separating contraception from abortion in the public’s mind and the minds of elected officials. I can tell you that back in the years when I was pro choice, I honestly did not believe that Planned Parenthood performed abortions. I didn’t learn I was wrong until many years later.
Perhaps the videos of Planned Parenthood executives selling aborted baby body parts will clarify people’s thinking.
The United States Senate says it will vote today on defunding Planned Parenthood.
I know I’ve predicted that this vote will fall short. But every so often I’m wrong. Push your senators to help prove me wrong.
Call both our senators and ask them to vote yes.
You can find their emails and phone numbers here.
I told friends I wasn’t going to write about Cecil the dead lion because it “wasn’t worth the candle,” which is to say that I think the whole fracas is exaggerated and addlepated.
I’m still not going to write about Cecil and his demise except to say this: Get a brain, people.
He was a lion.
He was killed by a hunter who may or may not have violated hunting’s rules of fair play.
Let. Me. Repeat: He was a lion. He was not a human being.
Hunting is not immoral. Maybe this particular hunter broke the rules of, as I said, hunting fair play, in a manner that sounds akin to spotlighting deer. It is true that lions in the wild are becoming rare. These are all concerns to be dealt with.
But this obsessive craziness over a dead lion is, well, obsessive craziness.
He was a lion. Not a human being. He also was not your pet. A month ago, you had never heard of Cecil the lion.
Talk about bread and circuses.
(OK. Now lay into me for being an animal hater or whatever. Get it all out.)
This is an interesting discussion about defunding Planned Parenthood.
I want to make a point about one thing that Tod Starnes says. The Rs have not really been “in control since 2013″ as he says. They’ve been dealing with a split government in which the Executive is in the hands of the Ds.
That said, he is correct in saying that they’ve pushed hard for corporatists agendas, such as doing way with the retirement for our men and women in arms, while they’ve used pro life as a rabble rousing vote-getter and have not really been serious about doing anything to save babies’ lives. Ditto for the sanctity of marriage and religious freedom.
The Rs were in control of the government during the first decade of this century, when they held both houses of Congress and the White House. They did not defund Planned Parenthood then, and they could have, if they had wanted to.
I believe that Mr Starnes makes a valid point when he says that elected supporters of Planned Parenthood are much more committed to their cause than elected pro life supporters are to our cause.
Now here’s a surprise.
The White House media guy supports Planned Parenthood and uses Planned Parenthood’s talking points to do it. We all know who the White House media guy works for, right?
For what it’s worth, each of the videos under discussion in the YouTubes below was released in two versions, one of them was edited, but the other was complete and without editing.
Senator Rand Paul says pro life Democrats are “the key” to defunding Planned Parenthood.
Turns out his math on the vote is the same as mine. The vote in question is a vote on cloture, which would limit debate and stop a filibuster against the bill. Cloture requires 60 votes.
According to Senator Paul, 52 of the 54 Rs will vote for cloture. I’ve read that Republican Senator Collins of Maine, and Senator Kirk of Illinois plan to vote against defunding Planned Parenthood. What that means is that the Ds are going to have to cough up 8 pro life votes to pass cloture and allow the bill to come to a vote of the full Senate.
How many pro life Ds are there in the United States Senate? By my count, we have 4 who have mixed pro life records. They vote pro life a lot of time, but not on every, single vote. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Senator Casey of Pennsylvania, who has said that he will not vote to defund Planned Parenthood. This is consistent with his previous votes on the issue.
I’ve been over the numbers several times, and I can’t get to 60. If the Rs can change both their “nos,” and pro life Ds can pull 6 votes out of their hat, then we’re home.
Public Catholic readers are often active in the pro life movements in their local communities. Do any of you have better intel on how this vote is like to come down? Have you talked to your senators’ offices and gotten information that there’s a D or two out there who might switch and vote with us?
If you do, please share the info here.
If our elected officials truly want to defund Planned Parenthood — as opposed to using it for a campaign issue — they can.
First we have to defund the half billion or so of over the counter money that goes to PP. Part of this involves transferring these monies to other entities. I am totally opposed to creating another form of “privatized” health care funding, which is what PP is. All we need to do is transfer the monies to the various city, county and state health departments with strong language about how it must be used and penalties for mis-use.
These are already existing facilities who do a lot of this same kind of work now.
The real trick is to pry the $$ loose from PP in the first place. I offer a plan for doing this, as well as an explanation for why the move the United States Senate is making now is a no-go, in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register.
I want to emphasize that I am not saying that we can’t get this done. I am saying that we can’t get it done by the methods that the Senate is currently using.
Too many so-called pro-life Senators say things like “I’d like to defund Planned Parenthood, but, we need to do this or that corporatist thing first because pro life is really, you know, a distraction from the serious business of government.” You can take it to the bank that this guy or gal ain’t never gonna do anything but vote pro life out in public when they are forced to and that they will cut pro life concerns off at the knees in the back rooms where none of us can see.
It’s up to us, the pro life people of America, to pressure them to stop playing politics with this, and get serious about making it happen. We are the babies’ only voice.
From the National Catholic Register:
Without this bill, we face a long slog through other amendments on less important bills or a standalone bill, all of which are unlikely to make it to law. It appears that what Majority Leader McConnell has set up is a vote or votes that are doomed to fail so far as lawmaking goes, but that will make nice fodder for the upcoming campaign. —Rebecca Hamilton
I quoted myself at the top of this post. It’s not often that I get to be a prophet … and in a 24-hour turnaround, no less.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced Wednesday that she had filed a bill that would (drum roll) “defund Planned Parenthood!!!!” Her first co-author is none less than (trumpet fanfare) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell!!!!
Then, Majority Leader McConnell (bring out the sparklers) said that the Senate will “vote” on the bill as early as next week!!!!
We got ‘em! Planned Parenthood is doomed, I say — dooooomed.
Just out of curiosity: Is anybody out there actually believing this? Because if you are, I’ve got some land in Florida and a bridge in Brooklyn that we need to talk about.
Remember when I wrote about tactics, strategy and all that stuff? Well, what we are seeing here is a short course in Political Tactics 101. The trouble is, these tactics are being used against us, not for us.
There isn’t going to be a straight-up, standalone statute go into law defunding Planned Parenthood. Will. Not. Happen.
Let me count the ways.
The Los Angeles Superior Court has issued a temporary restraining order against the Center for Medical Progress, barring them from releasing more videos of StemExpress executives discussing the purchase of aborted baby body parts.
The videos in question are said to include conversations held in a restaurant with three StemExpress executives.
My first reaction was that this is tres ironic, coming as it does from people who come on Public Catholic and throw both shoes because their comments sometimes get deleted. I lost track the first week as to how many times they accused me of violating their odd idea of “freedom of speech” and the First Amendment.
However, this action by the Los Angeles Superior Court does violate First Amendment free speech, since it is the government, stopping journalists from airing videos which show people who are at least indirectly hooked up to the tax base talking about how they make their money. It doesn’t get much more First Amendment than that.
We the People have a right to know what is being done with our tax dollars, and Planned Parenthood certainly gets its share of tax dollars. Also, “researchers” who may be using these body parts from murdered babies are also almost certainly getting a big part of their $$ from the government, as well. It seems clear that StemExpress is getting its $$ from the government, at least indirectly.
It will be interesting indeed to see how this plays out in the courts. It does indicate that Planned Parenthood and its downstream partners such as StemExpress are running hot on this thing.
There’s a cloture vote in the Senate next week. Even though I’ve gone on record saying that we’re gonna lose that vote, I still think we need to put up every bit of fight we can. You never know. I’ve won other fights I thought were lost in the past.
LOS ANGELES – A temporary restraining order has been issued preventing an anti-abortion group from releasing any video of leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. The group is the same one that previously released three covertly shot videos of a Planned Parenthood leader discussing the sale of aborted fetuses for research.
The Los Angeles Superior Court order issued Tuesday prohibits the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of three high-ranking StemExpress officials taken at a restaurant in May. It appears to be the first legal action prohibiting the release of a video from the organization.
The Center for Medical Progress has released three surreptitiously recorded videos to date that have riled anti-abortion activists. The Senate is expected to vote before its August recess on a Republican effort to bar federal aid to Planned Parenthood in the aftermath of the videos’ release.
In a statement Wednesday, center leader David Daleiden said StemExpress was using “meritless litigation” to cover up an “illegal baby parts trade.”
“The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work,” he said.
Pro abortion people are having a bit of trouble processing the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts. I don’t know if this is because their consciences are bothering them, or if the political implications of the videos frighten them.
Whatever the problem, I think it’s worthwhile to look at the videos together. The videos bring home something that I found overwhelming when it finally got through my thick skull: We are killing people.
When I realized the full horror of what I had done, I was undone by it. I experienced grief, guilt, shame and remorse that changed forever how I viewed myself. It also changed — on a profound level — my relationship with God. My commitment to the sanctity of human life moved from the back-burner to the absolute.
I thank God every day for saving me from myself. I can wish nothing more for anyone who is still trapped in the world of death and destruction of the culture of death.
These are the edited versions, but The Center for Medical Progress has released the full-length video of each one, if you want to watch them.
Well, they did it.
Remember a while back when the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay scouts? The deal then was that this was only for the boys themselves. The leaders and BSA employees would remain straight. Anyone who doubted this was a homophobe, an alarmist and probably a dim-witted traditional Christian to boot.
President Obama had an opinion about this policy, as he apparently does about all things gay. He chimed in that the Boy Scouts should, indeed, allow gay men to be scout leaders and administrators of the organization. The state of New York, whose governor told both pro life people and those who are, in his learned opinion, “anti-gay” to pack up and move elsewhere, launched an investigation against the Boy Scouts, claiming “discrimination” in their employment practices. Perhaps the final blow to the old policy came when the the president of the Boy Scouts of America, who is also the former head of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under President Bush I, called for the organization to allow gay scout leaders and employees.
You may have to stretch your memory a bit, but the Boy Scouts actually won a Supreme Court decision a few years back which sustained their freedom to not allow either gay scouts or gay scout leaders in their organization. That set off an unending line of attacks against the organization, culminating in what appears to be infiltration of its governing board by people who wanted to change the direction.
Why all the focus from gay rights activists on the boy scouts? I don’t know. But it’s been a biggie with them for a long time now.
It appears that they have won. The Boy Scouts of America has announced that they are going to allow gay scout leaders and gay employees. There are codicils in this decision which allow church-based Scout packs to eschew gay leaders, and, of course, we have a Catholic bishop, chiming in to urge “optimism” about the future of the Catholic Church allying with the new, gay Boy Scouts because, you know, this codicil is a for-real deal and will stand for at least a week or so.
One would think that the gay rights activists would be over the moon. This has, after all, been a very good year for them. But in keeping with their constant tradition of being the worse winners possible, they’re still angry and demanding more “reforms.”
Now that the Boy Scouts have tossed away their Supreme Court victory in toto, and now that they are still under pressure to become even more “gay friendly,” maybe they should just stop the gradualist nonsense and go all the way. Maybe the Boy Scouts should start holding their pack meetings in gay bars. That would end the cries of “discrimination” and get rid of those pesky traditional Christians, all in one fell swoop.
The United States Senate did one of their doh-see-dohs earlier this week, and the result was a verbal exchange that highlights just how polarized are lawmakers are, even within their own political parties.
As usual, there was speechifying and strangled attempts to do something that might serve to end the carnage of abortion, all of which came to naught. This week’s tawdry pro-life politician performance was all about defunding Planned Parenthood. Or, talking a great game about defunding Planned Parenthood while doing zip.
If anyone is surprised by this, please raise your hand.
I wrote an explanatory post for the National Catholic Register, in which I attempted to explain what happened. I also alluded, just briefly to what the real goal needs to be, which is to put meaningful language that will actually have the effect of reducing Planned Parenthood’s massive federal funding (I don’t think one piece of legislation can even begin to get all of it, btw.) that has at least the proverbial snowball’s chance of overriding a presidential veto.
It’s called tactics.
It’s not strategy, which is of a higher and more global order of political thinking. This is just bill-passing tactical thinking that any lawmaker with two brain cells knows how to do if they want to do it.
Sadly, pro life efforts have been both a strategic and tactical free zone for going on 50 years now. Pro life people have been very carefully taught to jump up and down and get all rageful, while accomplishing nothing much. I’m trying to do my little part to change that. It’s a bit like dipping out the ocean with a teaspoon, but I’m going to keep on dipping until I feel that the Lord has some other plan for me.
In the meantime, here’s the article I wrote for the Register. Read it and think, my friends. People’s lives are at stake here.
From the National Catholic Register:
Now what does this tale of men at yell have to do with defunding Planned Parenthood? Just about everything.
Here’s the deal.
While the Senate Republicans were splitting up over Majority Leader McConnell’s action in pushing through the Export-Import Bank amendment, McConnell also deep-sixed an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul attempted to attach amendments to the bill that they say would have “defunded Planned Parenthood.” The Chair ruled the amendments out of order.
What’s the big deal about that? Doesn’t the Senate have other bills? In fact, couldn’t it pass a stand-alone bill defunding Planned Parenthood?
The big deal is that the Highway Bill is one of those must-pass pieces of legislation that everybody wants to see go into law, including the President. The federal Highway Trust Fund runs out of money on Friday. That has the road-construction industry and much of the business world in all fifty states pushing hard for this bill.
It would be impossible for most members of Congress to vote against the Highway Bill, and tough for the President to veto. I assume that the President would veto it, if it had language defunding Planned Parenthood in it, but it would give him — and Congressional Democrats—considerable heartburn.
The cherry on top was actually the much-discussed Export-Import Bank amendment. President Obama and most Democrats want that amendment. The bill, with both the Export-Import Bank amendment and the amendment defunding Planned Parenthood, would be a great bill for an override vote.
That’s why the Highway Bill was the place to put the amendment defunding Planned Parenthood and why I don’t think anyone whose first loyalty is to the babies should have been against the Export-Import Amendment. The trick here was to make an override possible.